The weather was gorgeous last weekend: 70 degrees and sunny. I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of longing for my coastal Virginia home and a sandy beach.
I had to settle for somewhere a little closer, but I still found myself a “beach.”
The Valentine flats trail, located in the Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area, leads to the rocky banks of the Cattaraugus Creek — not sandy, but I’ll take it.
Location: Gowanda, New York
Distance: The trail is 3 miles (1.5 mile out and back). I know I went more like 5.5, though, thanks to my AllTrails app which can track my mileage. There are several little paths off the main trail that you can explore.
Parking: There are many parking spots at the trailhead and bulletin board with a trail map.
Views: Amazing. If you are looking for a trail that gives you great views quickly, this is the place to go.
Dogs: There were quite a few dogs on this trail. It seemed to be a popular spot for local dog owners.
Difficulty: This trail is not difficult in terms of distance and it is a gentle descent into to the valley. That said, be especially aware of your surroundings on this trail. Many parts of it can be muddy and slippery, the cliffs are steep and brittle and the current of the creek is strong and swift.
Trail markers: The trail markers were not the best, but it is a well-worn path and easy to follow.
This trail is an ideal day trip for a relaxing sunny day. It doesn’t take long to arrive at the creek and once you are there, you could spend a solid hour meandering along the flats.
The trail turns to the right from the parking lot, but if you turn left there is a short walk (0.75 miles) to an overlook of the valley. I highly recommend checking it out!
- Do you like the beach? Yes! Sand, salt, sun!
- Are you afraid of heights? I am not… I’d love to skydive one day!